Friday, April 19, 2013

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven (Fablehaven, #1)Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So after reading the Beyonders series, and remembering how talented Brandon Mull is, I remembered that I never finished the Fablehaven series. It is really strange for me to not finish any series once I start it, and I realized that there were 3 such series for me right now. I didn't finish them because they were not all published when I started them, and I didn't get to each new installment as they cam out. (For those interested the other two series are the Magyk series by Angie Sage and the Leven Thumps Foo series by Obert Skye-- I will go back to them next, since I think they are both complete now.)

So I picked up Fablehaven, and immediately began to enjoy the experience of reading a well crafted story. It had been long enough since my first reading that I had forgotten most of the details of the plot, so there were those awesome, "Oh yeah, THAT is what happened!" moments.

A specific thing I appreciate about Brandon Mull is that he manages to break away from some of the archetypal plots that persist in fantasy literature. No, this story is not about about a boy with no parents who learns about his royal or magical lineage and saves the world while growing into manhood at the same time. Not that I don't love those stories, because I do. And for as many times as I have heard that plot retold, I think there are a million more tellings worth reading. But Mull brings original ideas to the table, and for that he should be lauded. It is similar to my respect for Garth Nix. If those guys are ever in the same room, I want to be there too...

Anyway, so after this glowing review, why dock Fablehaven a star? Seth. He is an annoying character (reminds me of my complaints about Rachel from the Beyonders series ) And it isn't just that he is annoying, because real people are annoying sometimes, but he is so annoying that it pulls me out of the story. No one can be that stupid, and repeatedly to things that dumb. If they were that ridiculous, then I would expect other negative personality traits along with it. So the fact that he seems to have decent relationships with other characters despite his major flaws makes him an unbelievable character. To give Mr. Mull credit, I see that he was trying to create well-rounded characters with flaws that make them human (again similar to Rachel) but this was just overdone... So I'm keeping a star this time, but looking forward to the next book...